Boone County leadership and faculty attended the June 14 and 15 W. Va. State Board of Education meeting in which they took action concerning the budget issue. Leadership in attendance included American Federation of Teachers local president, Carrena Rouse, Assistant Superintendent of Boone County Schools, Dr. Lisa Beck, Boone County Board of Education member, Susan Pauley-Kimbler and former W. Va. State Board of Education member, Dolores Cook.
Rouse said that she believes that decisions of this magnitude should be made with the involvement of everyone concerned.
“Historically Boone County has been paying its fair share for three decades,” Rouse said, “Before we rush to judgement, shouldn’t all stakeholders be brought to the table?”
Rouse said that the current directives offered by the W. Va. Board of Education would be ethically wrong to enact at this time of the year.
“It is morally deficient to attack school personnel by altering their contracts. My fear is we will lose our best teachers, Boone County is currently seeing this exodus,” Rouse said.
Rouse went on to say that there were lots of issues to consider. She believes this concerns more than the lives of the teachers.
“The loss of revenue and livelihood for our employees will be devastating to the families and children of Boone County Schools,” Rouse said, “Ignoring the fact that this will have an impact on students is irresponsible.”
Cook spoke at the second day of the meeting. W. Va. State Board of Education President, Michael Green, described Cook as one of his “favorite people in the whole world.” Cook asked the members of the Board of Education to consider the current state of Boone County.
“The state of W. Va. has gone through a terrible time in the last three weeks with the devastation of the floods, but I’m here to tell you today that Boone County is in devastation too,” Cook said, “People don’t have jobs, children are hungry, teachers are here and they don’t know if they’re going to have a payday.”
As a former State Board Member, Cook also said that she empathized with them. She said that no matter what decision was made, she understood that it would be a difficult one.
“I’m on the other side of this table today, I don’t know what decision you’re going to make today, but I’ve gone through a lot of times that I had to make decision that were hard,” Cook said.
Beck and Pauley-Kimbler did not speak at the meetings, but they did sit among the teachers of Boone County and seemed to remain attentive for both days of the meeting.